Three breeds taken off, one added, plus 'serious concern' for
Dales ponies and North Ronaldsay sheep.
Longhorn cattle have increased sufficiently to be removed from the list.
Two breeds of sheep and one breed of cattle are being
removed from the annual 'Watchlist' compiled by the
UK's only charity dedicated to the preservation of Britain's
native farming livestock. However, the Dorset Horn sheep is placed
on the list for the first time and concern grows for the future
of Dales ponies and North Ronaldsay sheep, both of which are now
classified as being 'Critical'.
“We are delighted that numbers of Longhorn cattle, Wiltshire Horn and Kerry
Hill sheep have increased sufficiently to be removed from the list,” said
Robert Terry, the Executive Director of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.
“But they will continue to be monitored closely and any significant drops
in the numbers of breeding females will mean that they will be returned to the
Speaking about the huge drop in the total of Dales ponies he commented, “This
reflects just how few filly foals are being bred and registered. Most horse and
pony mares are not used for breeding, so the success of a breed in the show ring
may not be reflected in numbers.”
He continued, “There are now less than 300 registered Dales breeding mares.
I would ask anyone with mares to think seriously about their breeding plans for
2006. If there are any problems with sourcing a stallion, please contact the
Dales Pony Society.”
North Ronaldsay sheep have been recatogorised because of a change in the way
they are counted. Robert Terry explained: “The Trust is now using registered
female lamb numbers to estimate number of breeding ewes rather than just registered
ewes of breeding age. This means that animals used for conservation grazing which
are not used for breeding will no longer be counted. This has had a dramatic
effect on how the North Ronaldsay is categorised, and highlights the genuinely
critical status of this breed.”
Other changes in the annual list include:
In addition to the Longhorn, there are several other success stories.
Shetland and the Lincoln Red populations are downgraded from Critical
to Endangered. The Gloucester has increased significantly in numbers
and moves to Vulnerable, along with the White Park. The Traditional
Hereford, Beef Shorthorns and Red Poll are downgraded to At Risk.
Breeds where numbers have dropped sufficiently for them to move
into a rarer category are the Dorset Down, Hill Radnor, Soay, Devon
and Cornwall Longwool, Oxford Down, Shropshire and the Whitefaced
Dartmoor. Breeds proving to be more successful and which have increased
in numbers are the Balwen, Llanwenog and South Down. As mentioned
earlier, the Wiltshire Horn and Kerry both go off the Watchlist.
Horses and ponies
In contrast to the experience of the Dales pony, the Fell moves
from Endangered to Vulnerable and may drop another category next
year if numbers continue to improve.
All poultry breeds stay in the same categories due to lack of
updated information because registration data is not available.
However, the Trust expects to receive information from a recently
distributed avian influenza questionnaire, which will be used to
update the watch list next year.
Female registration data was not available for the 2006 list so
the annual survey has been used, as in previous years. The RBST
is working closely with the British Pig Association and updated
information, based on female registrations, should be available
for the 2007 watchlist.
For more information contact the Rare Breeds Survival Trust on
024 7669 8764 or go to www.rbst.org.uk
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